US Hits 5 Million COVID-19 Cases As Trump Is Criticised Over Relief Package

In this collage, US President Donald Trump arrives for a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination, Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms and Boxes of food are distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to people facing economic or food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The United States on Sunday reached the extraordinary milestone of five million coronavirus cases as President Donald Trump was accused of flouting the constitution by unilaterally extending a virus relief package.

The US has been hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic, recording nearly 163,000 deaths — by far the highest of any country, ahead only of Brazil, which on Saturday became the second country to pass 100,000 deaths.

The global death toll is at least 727,288 since the novel coronavirus emerged in China last December, according to a running tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

Nearly 20 million cases have been registered worldwide — probably reflecting only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

As around much of the globe, the small African country of Malawi on Sunday imposed tight social restrictions to try to contain the disease, shutting all bars and churches, while hot weekend weather drew crowds in Europe to the beach.

In Washington, the new virus relief package — announced by Trump on Saturday after talks between Republican and Democrat lawmakers hit a wall — was “absurdly unconstitutional,” senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi told CNN.

Fellow Democrat and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, appearing on ABC, dismissed Trump’s unilateral measures as “unworkable, weak and far too narrow.”

But with the nation’s economy still struggling to dig itself out of an enormous hole, Democrats appeared skittish about any legal challenge to a relief package they see as seriously inadequate.

READ ALSO: Trump Signs Orders Extending Economic Relief For Americans

The four executive orders Trump signed Saturday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey will, among other things, defer payroll taxes and provide some temporary unemployment benefits.

The president was seen as keen to show himself taking decisive action ahead of a November 3 election that could see him ousted from office, with polls showing a large majority of voters unhappy with his handling of the crisis.

On Sunday night, Trump blamed what he called Democratic stubbornness for his being forced to take executive action.

“The Democrats were unwilling to do anything,” Trump told reporters as he boarded Air Force One to return to Washington.

“It was time to act,” he said. “We have to get money out to the people.”

Summer crowds

Democrats say the president’s orders infringe on Congress’s constitutional authority over the federal budget.

But Pelosi demurred when asked about possible legal action, saying, “Whether (it was) legal or not takes time to figure out.”

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow defended the new measures.

“Maybe we’re going to go to court on them. We’re going to go ahead with our actions anyway,” he said.

Trump’s Democratic opponent in the presidential election, Joe Biden, tweeted that five million coronavirus cases was “a number that boggles the mind and breaks the heart.

“It shouldn’t have gotten this bad,” he said.

The US on Sunday had added 47,197 new cases in 24 hours, with 532 additional deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US fatalities now total 162,913, and the number of infections is 5,041,473, the Baltimore-based university said.

Elsewhere, growing infections in and around Paris prompted French officials to make face masks compulsory outdoors in crowded areas and tourist hotspots in the city and surrounding areas from Monday.

The mask will be obligatory for all those aged 11 and over in “very crowded zones,” said a police statement, including the banks of the Seine River and more than 100 streets in the French capital.

As temperatures soared across western Europe, holidaymakers crowded beaches at the weekend despite warnings about the risk of infection.

Local authorities in Germany warned that some beaches and lakes would be closed if there were too many people.

Belgian police meanwhile arrested several people Saturday at the resort of Blankenberge after a brawl broke out on a beach between officers and youths they had told to leave for refusing to respect virus safety measures.

Around 5,000 people demonstrated in Vienna for increased financial support for nightlife and relaxing coronavirus regulations.

In Peru, indigenous people armed with spears and angry over what they consider government neglect of their communities in the pandemic assaulted a settlement for oil workers deep in the Amazon, triggering a clash with police that left three natives dead, the government said Sunday.

Back in the US, in another burst of defiance over health warnings, thousands of bikers converged on a town in South Dakota for what is billed as the largest cycle gathering in the world.

In past years, the 10-day rally in Sturgis has drawn hundreds of thousands of bikers to socialize, drink and party together — raising fears among some locals that this year’s version could be a superspreader event.

AUSTIN, TEXAS – AUGUST 03: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms on August 03, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Texas has had the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, following Florida and California. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
PARAMOUNT, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 06: Boxes of food are distributed by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to people facing economic or food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic on August 6, 2020 in Paramount, California. Around 2,500 motorists were expected to collect the food boxes which included a pamphlet urging recipients to complete the 2020 census as the spread of the coronavirus continues. The problem of food insecurity is increasing with almost 30 million respondents telling the U.S. Census Bureau they did not have enough to eat at some point during the week ending July 21. Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP
HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – AUGUST 07: Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Research Centers of America is currently conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials, implemented under the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The center is recruiting volunteers to participate in the clinical trials, working with the Federal Government and major Pharmaceutical Companies, that are racing to develop a vaccine to potentially prevent COVID-19. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP
HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA – AUGUST 07: A patients blood samples are seen during a COVID-19 vaccination study at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida. Research Centers of America is currently conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials, implemented under the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The center is recruiting volunteers to participate in the clinical trials, working with the Federal Government and major Pharmaceutical Companies, that are racing to develop a vaccine to potentially prevent COVID-19. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP
AUSTIN, TEXAS – AUGUST 07: Medical personnel train to receive Covid-129 patients at the Austin Convention Center on August 07, 2020 in Austin, Texas. The cavernous facility was prepared for use as a field hospital for Covid-19 patients, if Austin hospitals were to become overwhelmed. In recent weeks, however, Texas has seen the number of new Covid-19 hospitalizations decrease, even as pandemic-related deaths remain high. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
AUSTIN, TEXAS – AUGUST 07: Austin-Travis County EMS medics transport a man with possible Covid-19 symptoms to the hospital on August 07, 2020 in Austin, Texas. Nationwide the African American community continues to be disproportionally affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Texas has seen the number of new Covid-19 hospitalizations decrease, even as Covid-19 deaths continue. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
US President Donald Trump arrives for a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 5, 2020. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – AUGUST 08: General view of Atmosphere during Rick Ross Partners With Co-Founders of Feed Your City Challenge Music Industry Legend Tony Draper and Ricky Davis To Combat COVID-19 at Calder Casino on August 8, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Jason Koerner/Getty Images for Feed Your City Challenge/Tony Draper /AFP
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – AUGUST 08: General view of Atmosphere during Rick Ross Partners With Co-Founders of Feed Your City Challenge Music Industry Legend Tony Draper and Ricky Davis To Combat COVID-19 at Calder Casino on August 8, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Jason Koerner/Getty Images for Feed Your City Challenge/Tony Draper /AFP

Trump Says US Coronavirus Vaccine ‘Possible’ By Election

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from the White House on July 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he departs for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center from the White House on July 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images/AFP

 

President Donald Trump on Thursday said that a vaccine may be produced ahead of the US presidential election on November 3 — a more optimistic timeline than given by his top infectious diseases doctor.

Asked by radio talk show host Geraldo Rivera whether a vaccine could come by the election, Trump said: “I think in some cases, yes, possible before. But right around that time.”

Trump said the vaccine would be ready “sooner than the end of the year. Could be much sooner.”

“We have a lot of vaccines under study by the way. We look like we’re going to be really good on vaccines and therapeutics also,” he said.

READ ALSO: China Accuses US Of ‘Political Suppression’ Over TikTok, WeChat Ban

A more careful note was sounded on Wednesday by Dr Anthony Fauci, a lead government official on the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci said he was “cautiously optimistic” of success and that “somewhere towards the end of the year, the beginning of 2021, we will know whether they have a safe and effective vaccine.”

The Trump administration is pouring federal funds into vaccine development, seen as the only way to stop the virus and end the mass shutdowns and social distancing that have crippled economies around the world.

AFP

Microsoft Eyes Entire Operations Of TikTok In Talks – Report

 

Microsoft has expanded its talks on TikTok to a potential deal that would include buying the global operations of the fast-growing video-sharing app, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

Microsoft declined to comment on the report, after previously disclosing it was considering a deal for TikTok operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The US tech giant has been in discussions with TikTok’s Chinese parent firm ByteDance, amid a call by US President Donald Trump to ban the popular app over national security concerns.

Trump and other officials have argued the app could be used for Chinese espionage, a claim repeatedly denied by TikTok, which does not operate within China.

According to the report, Microsoft has shifted its view because of the complexities of splitting the app and making it operable globally.

TikTok operates in some 150 countries and has an estimated billion users.

Trump has set a September 15 deadline for any deal that would take TikTok from the Chinese firm.

AFP

Shootout At Chicago Funeral Leaves 14 Wounded

 

A shootout outside a funeral parlour left 14 people wounded Tuesday in Chicago, as President Donald Trump threatens to send federal agents to a handful of US cities led by Democratic mayors.

The incident started when occupants of a vehicle “began firing at attendees of a funeral. At that time the attendees of the funeral exchanged fire,” Chicago deputy police superintendent Eric Carter told reporters.

Shootings have become breathtakingly normal this summer across the United States. A total of 63 people were shot and 12 killed over the weekend in Chicago in ongoing gun violence, according to local media.

Carter said 14 people were wounded in Tuesday’s shooting but did not specify the degree of severity.

“Too many guns are on our streets and in the hands of people who should never possess them,” Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted after what she called a “horrific mass shooting.”

Trump’s threat to send more military-garbed law enforcement into US cities has mainly been in response to the anti-racism protests rocking the country following the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer in May.

After the Department of Homeland Security deployed scores of Border Patrol police and federal marshals — many in combat fatigues — to Portland, Oregon last week, Trump said he could do the same in other Democrat-led cities like Chicago and New York.

“Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents,” mayor Lightfoot tweeted late Tuesday.

According to reports, DHS was preparing to send 150 paramilitary personnel to Chicago after police there clashed with demonstrators seeking to tear down a statue of Christopher Columbus.

Trump called the move necessary, even claiming Chicago was “worse than Afghanistan.”

The president has also singled out Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland as potential cities for sending federal agents.

On Monday, the mayors of six major cities — Atlanta, Washington, Seattle, Chicago, Portland and Kansas City — said in a letter to Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Attorney General Bill Barr that the uninvited paramilitary deployments violate the Constitution.

US Records 63,872 New Virus Cases In 24 Hours – Johns Hopkins

 

The United States on Sunday recorded 63,872 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University reported in its real-time tally.

That put the total number of cases in the US, the nation hardest hit by the global pandemic, at 3,762,081, the Baltimore-based university said at 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Monday).

Another 514 deaths were reported, bringing total fatalities to 140,474.

READ ALSO: I Almost Killed My Daughter, Kanye West Reveals At Chaotic Opening Of Presidential Bid

The US has recorded more than 60,000 new cases every day for the last six days, peaking at a record 77,638 infections on Friday.

President Donald Trump, in a Fox News interview broadcast on Sunday, again defended his handling of the pandemic, claiming that the US was “the envy of the world” on testing. Referring to his early prediction that the virus would disappear, he said, “I’ll be right eventually.”

He again opposed any national mandate for mask-wearing, saying, “I want people to have a certain freedom.”

As Virus Rages In US, Trump Finally Wears A Mask

US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland' on July 11, 2020. ALEX EDELMAN / AFP
US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland’ on July 11, 2020. ALEX EDELMAN / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump wore a face mask in public for the first time Saturday, finally yielding to intense pressure to set a public health example as the coronavirus rampages across America.

Trump had on a dark mask featuring the presidential seal as he walked through the corridors of Walter Reed military hospital outside Washington to meet with wounded veterans.

Trump strode past reporters and did not stop to speak to them about what had become a hotly anticipated moment — would he have a change of heart on a practice recommended by the government’s own medical experts, even as he resisted?

“I’ve never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place,” Trump said as he left the White House.

News reports this week said aides practically begged the president to relent and wear a mask in public — and let himself be photographed — as coronavirus cases soar in some states and as Trump trails Democrat Joe Biden badly in polls ahead of the November election.

Trump has steadfastly defended his administration’s handling of the pandemic even though the US is the hardest-hit country in the world.

The country has recently seen several days of more than 60,000 new cases, nearly 135,000 people have died and states have been left to figure out on their own how to reopen without a clear and coherent strategy from the White House.

Masks ‘a great thing’

To wear a mask or not has become a sort of political fulcrum for a deeply divided America.

Conservatives who back Trump often refuse to don one on grounds it impinges on their freedom, while progressives tend to back the practice as a show of collective responsibility at a time of a life-or-death crisis.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend people wear masks in public when they cannot engage in social distancing.

But Trump — at political rallies, media briefings and elsewhere — has repeatedly avoided wearing a mask, even after staffers at the White House tested positive for the virus and as more aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, have taken to wearing them.

In May Trump even made fun of Biden when the latter started wearing a mask in public, sharing a tweet that featured an unflattering photograph of the former vice president in a black face covering.

Trump has reportedly told aides that wearing a mask would make him look weak and he could not stomach the idea of letting the media photograph him in one.

Even Saturday as he left the White House to head to Walter Reed, Trump made it sound like he would wear a mask only because he would be in a hospital — not that he had come around and embraced the idea of donning one regularly.

“I think when you’re in a hospital, especially in that particular setting, where you’re talking to a lot of soldiers and people that, in some cases, just got off the operating tables, I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask,” Trump told reporters.

Ivy League Universities Halt Sports Over Coronavirus Concern

Ivy League colleges have decided to halt all sports until at least January 2021 over fears of the coronavirus (AFP Photo/Adam Glanzman)
Ivy League colleges have decided to halt all sports until at least January 2021 over fears of the coronavirus (AFP Photo/Adam Glanzman)

 

 

The Ivy League group of elite US universities on Wednesday halted all sports until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, in a move that could have wide implications for the lucrative world of college sports.

A statement from the Ivy League’s Council of Presidents said no sport at all would be played during the autumn semester, which runs from September until December.

“With the information available to us today regarding the continued spread of the virus, we simply do not believe we can create and maintain an environment for intercollegiate athletic competition that meets our requirements for safety and acceptable levels of risk,” the Ivy League’s council said in a statement.

A decision on whether sports could return in the New Year would be taken at a later date.

The ruling means the eight Ivy League colleges will play no gridiron football this year.

Although Ivy League gridiron teams are not the strongest in the United States, Wednesday’s decision could influence other institutions currently grappling with the issue of how to organise sport safely in the era of COVID-19.

Ivy League executive director Robin Harris told ESPN campus policies designed to mitigate the threat of coronavirus, with many requiring students to study remotely, made sport a non-starter.

“The campus policies make it impractical for competition to occur, at least through the end of the fall semester,” Harris said.

“Eight campuses have announced their policies for the fall over the past two weeks. When we realized and the presidents realized based on these campus policies that we couldn’t have competition we wanted to make sure the student-athletes were aware of the outcome.

“It’s certainly the right decision for the Ivy League, but it’s difficult.”

The Ivy League said practice and other athletic training would be permitted, starting with limited individual and small group workouts.

 

 

AFP

George Floyd Said Officers Would ‘Kill’ Him In New Recording Transcript

These images taken on May 25, 2020, from a video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier / Facebook/Darnella Frazier / AFP
These images taken on May 25, 2020, from a video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier / Facebook/Darnella Frazier / AFP

 

 

George Floyd said he couldn’t breathe more than 20 times, called out for his children and late mother and said officers would “kill” him before he died in Minneapolis police custody, new evidence showed.

Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 when a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death has unleashed a massive wave of protests against systemic racism and police brutality in the United States and inspired demos across the world.

Video of his death went viral and showed Floyd shouting “I can’t breathe” and calling for his mother as he suffocated.

But transcripts of the police officers’ body camera footage, filed Tuesday in Minnesota state court by Thomas Lane, one of the officers involved in Floyd’s death, has revealed new details about his final moments.

When the officers first arrested him, Floyd begged them not to put him in the police car, telling them he was claustrophobic and in physical distress.

As they tried to force him into the car, Floyd cried out that he couldn’t breathe and was “going to die in here.”

Later, according to the transcript, he said, “Momma, I love you. Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.” He called for his mother and children several more times.

Throughout his arrest, Floyd said “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. The officers can be heard telling him to “relax,” and that he was doing “fine” and “talking fine.”

At one point, as Floyd insisted they were going to kill him, officer Derek Chauvin shouted, “Then stop talking, stop yelling, it takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.”

– ‘I can’t breathe’ –
According to the transcript, Floyd’s last words were, “They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me. I can’t breathe.”

The transcript was submitted Tuesday by Lane to have the charges that he aided and abetted in Floyd’s murder thrown out by a judge.

He and the other three officers involved — Chauvin, Tou Thao and Alexander Kueng — were all fired from the Minneapolis police force one day after Floyd’s death and charged in his murder. They each face up to 40 years behind bars.

Chauvin, who knelt on the handcuffed 46-year-old’s neck, faces second and third-degree murder charges.

Thao and Kueng, like Lane, have been charged with aiding and abetting a murder.

The bystander video of Floyd’s death stunned and horrified Americans, igniting protests and riots in cities across the country and sparking a national debate on racism and police violence.

Floyd was detained for the minor charge of attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill, and while in handcuffs, two of the officers held him down on the street while Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck and the fourth officer stood watch.

 

-AFP

Death Of Black Teen In US Juvenile Facility Sparks Outrage

People raise their fists during a rally as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, on Place de la Republique in Paris on June 13, 2020. – A wave of global protests in the wake of US George Floyd’s fatal arrest magnified attention on the 2016 death in French police custody of Adama Traore, a 24-year-old black man, and renewed controversy over claims of racism and brutality within the force. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

A viral video showing a black teen losing consciousness while being choked by staff members of a juvenile delinquency center sparked outrage Wednesday, as anti-racism protests continue to rage across the United States.

Cornelius Fredericks, 16, died May 1, two days after being pinned to the ground by staff at Lakeside Academy — a residential treatment for young adults in Kalamazoo, Michigan — for having thrown a sandwich at another boy in the cafeteria.

In the video, captured by surveillance cameras, Fredericks throws the sandwich and then is thrown to the ground by several men, who use their weight to subdue him.

 

Fredericks throws the sandwich and then is thrown to the ground by several men.
Fredericks throws the sandwich and then is thrown to the ground by several men.

 

After 10 minutes, Fredericks appears unconscious. Staff members attempted CPR before calling for medical help.

His death recalls that of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25 during an arrest that was filmed and spread on social media.

Floyd’s death has unleashed a massive wave of anger and protests against systemic racism and police brutality.

The “horrific video” of Fredericks’s death reveals a “culture of fear and abuse” at Lakeside Academy, where “suffocation is a regular practice… as a form of discipline,” the lawyer for Fredericks’s family, Geoffrey Fieger, said Tuesday while making the video public.

Fredericks “was executed on April 29 for the crime of throwing a sandwich,” Fieger said. The seven staff members who pinned him down “deprived him of oxygen and his brain suffered irreversible damage.”

Two of instructors and one nurse were charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse.

In June, Fieger filed civil lawsuits against the involved staff members and the private company that runs the Lakeside facility, Sequel Youth and Family Services, which has a contract with the state of Michigan.

“Cornelius’s scream of ‘I can’t breathe’ was not enough to get the staff members to stop the excessive restraint,” Fieger wrote in the lawsuit.

“The excessive use of restraints and the lack of concern for Cornelius’s life draw an eerily similar comparison to that of George Floyd’s death,” he added in the document.

Fieger said Tuesday that the operating company had proposed an out-of-court settlement of less than $1 million in compensation to Fredericks’s family.

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer in June denounced Fredericks’s “senseless” and “intolerable” death, and announced that she was stopping all contracts with Sequel Youth and Family Services in the state.

Trump Hails ‘Outstanding Relationship’ With Mexico President

US President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 8, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)
US President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hold a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 8, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

 

 

 

President Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed his “outstanding relationship” with his Mexican counterpart Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as he welcomed him to the White House for the leaders’ first one-on-one meeting. 

“We’ve had a very outstanding relationship… The relationship between the United States and Mexico has never been closer than it is right now,” said the billionaire Republican, who was elected in 2016 after campaigning heavily on a promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

At the time he branded Latino immigrants “bad hombres” and accused the Mexican government of sending criminals and rapists to the United States.

“Each of us was elected on the pledge to fight corruption, return power to the people and put the interests of our countries first,” he told Lopez Obrador, who was elected president in 2018. “I do that and you do that,” he added.

For his part, Lopez Obrador adopted a particularly conciliatory tone towards Trump.

“I want to thank you for your understanding,” he said, adding that there was no reason for the “very good political relations” between the two countries to deteriorate.

He noted that the US had not tried to treat Mexico “as a colony,” instead honoring its status as an independent nation.

“That’s why I’m here. To express to the people of the United States that their president has behaved with us with kindness and respect,” Lopez Obrador said.

The Oval Office event, their first face-to-face meeting, was officially a celebration of the newly-launched US-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal.

 

 

AFP

Dubai Police Extradites ‘Hushpuppi’ To United States

Ramoni Igbalode aka Hushpuppi, was arrested by Dubai Police in June for fraud, among other crimes.
Ramoni Igbalode aka Hushpuppi, was arrested by Dubai Police in June 2020 for fraud, among other crimes.

 

Alleged criminal mastermind Raymond Igbalode Abbas, known as ‘Hushpuppi’ has been extradited from the United Arab Emirates to the United States.

This was revealed in a statement by the Dubai Police on Thursday in which the US Federal Bureau of Investigations extended its gratitude to the UAE crime watchdog for its role in apprehending and extraditing ‘Hushpuppi’.

 

In June, the Dubai Police had arrested Hushpuppi, Olalekan Jacob Ponle, known as ‘Woodberry’, and ten others in an operation tagged ‘Fox Hunt’.

The suspects were accused of “committing crimes outside the UAE, including money-laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonating, scamming individuals, banking fraud and identity theft,” the Dubai Police said.

 

Before his arrest, Hushpuppi had gained fame on social media for his outlandish display of wealth.

The director of Dubai CID, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf said the raid that led to his arrest resulted in the confiscation of incriminating documents of a planned fraud on a global scale worth AED 1.6 billion ($ 435 million).

“The team also seized more than AED 150 million ($40.9 million) in cash, 13 luxury cars with an estimated value of AED 25 million ($6.8 million) obtained from fraud crimes, and confiscated 21 computer devices, 47 smartphones, 15 memory sticks, five hard disks containing 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of 1,926,400 victims”, he said.

After conducting further investigations and analysing confiscated electronic devices, Dubai Police investigators uncovered sensitive information mined by the suspects on individuals and companies overseas including bank accounts and fake credit cards as well as documents and files condemning the gangs’ illegal activities, the Dubai Police said.

Trump Never Told Officials To Slow COVID-19 Testing – Fauci

Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine COVID-19, "focusing on lessons learned to prepare for the next pandemic", on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on June 23, 2020. KEVIN DIETSCH / POOL / AFP
Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies before the US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine COVID-19. KEVIN DIETSCH / POOL / AFP

 

US disease expert Anthony Fauci told Congress Tuesday that Donald Trump never told him or other officials to curb coronavirus testing, essentially contradicting the president who told supporters he had urged such slowdown.

“None of us have ever been told to slow down on testing,” Fauci told a House panel on US efforts to mitigate the pandemic, adding that “in fact, we will be doing more testing” instead of less.

READ ALSO: China Launches Final Satellite To Complete Rival To GPS

Trump raised alarm bells Saturday when he told a Tulsa campaign rally — where most attendees were not wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines — that testing is a “double-edged sword,” and that he had told his experts to “slow the testing down.”

AFP